How to clean cast iron skillet without having to reseason
Hello everyone! I have been selecting items for my wedding registry and have been regularly reading the posts on this site for advice on what selections I should make...it has been so incredibly helpful! The one question I have that I can't seem to find a specific answer to is how to clean a seasoned cast iron skillet after cooking on it, without having to scour it, remove the season, and then reseason. Or should I plan on reseasoning with the oil/oven process every single time I cook with the pan? I guess I'm just confused because whenever I search for "how to clean cast iron" I only find answers for how to restore old skillets and reseason them. I'd like to know if once a good season is established if I can simply clean up after a meal without reseasoning, and how to do it.
Also, if I purchase a preseasoned pan, should I season it several times before I try cooking in it? Or is the season that arrives on the pan from the manufacturer good enough to just jump into cooking with it? I hope I'm making sense in what I'm asking here, sorry if I'm making this way more confusing than it needs to be!
If it helps at all, I was looking at registering for a 12" Lodge skillet, and can't tell from the item description if this one is even preseasoned or not.
When an iron pan is well-seasoned, it cleans up easily with just hot water and a nylon scrub pad, unless exceptionally greasy. A fter washing, put on the heat for half a minute and wipe with a paper towel. This ensures that it is clean and dry.
If I have a lot of grease in the pan, I will add one or two drops of dishwashing liquid and soak for just a minute, then finish cleaning with hot water as above. This does not hurt the seasoning.
It's getting to "well-seasoned" that is the hard part.
What do you plan on using the pan for? There are TONS of threads here on CI, just have a search and you'll get more info than you can read...
FWIW, a 12" skillet is huge and heavy. I have a 9" as my everyday pan and it's plenty big enough. Go to the store, pick one up. Then add something to it to give you an idea of how heavy it will be when it's full. Unless you're doing CFS for a mess of ranch hands, I would re-think the size.
You might need to do some initial work with the Lodge to get it where you want it, but once it's well-seasoned, you shouldn't need to do anything more than a hot water rinse and a wipe with an oiled paper towel after it's used. (I think all Lodge comes pre-seasoned, but not everyone agrees on whether that is sufficient. LIke I said, tons of threads already here about it. )
I wipe mine with a damp paper towel, set it back on the heat until I know it's dry, then give it a wipe with a few drops of oil. That's all the cleaning it gets. And my eggs slide off it.
Congrats on your wedding!!
If you click on the details for that pan, it says "Soy-based, kosher-certified vegetable oil coating gives a natural nonstick finish."
I have a Lodge pre-seasoned grill pan and I clean it by generously sprinkling cheap table salt on it and scrubbing with a wet scrubby sponge. If you do this, plan on devoting that scrubby for that lone purpose.
You only reseason if the seasoning is not good, not after every use.
If you use soap to wash, apply a thin layer of oil with a paper towel to the cooking surface (not the walls) after every wash.
All current Lodge is pre-seasoned. A good alternative is olvidacookware.com, nickle coated cast iron that does not need seasoning.
< how to clean a seasoned cast iron skillet after cooking on it, without having to scour it, remove the season, and then reseason.>
You definitely do not need to remove the season, then reseason it to clean the cookware.
For regularly cleaning you can either use running water or diluted detergent dishwasher.
< if I purchase a preseasoned pan, should I season it several times before I try cooking in it? Or is the season that arrives on the pan from the manufacturer good enough to just jump into cooking with it? >
I think you ask the toughest question of all, and you will get very different answer. I will say that I personally prefer to re-season from scratch because sometime the factory preseason does not hold. So rather than cooking for weeks and months later and then decide that I have to reseason the cookware, I preemptively re-season the cookware. This is really a personal call.
My grandmother always WASHED cast iron and her stuff was SLICK! She'd scrub out with a few T of salt and hot water. Good rinse with HOT water and back on burner till HOT!! Then a dab of bacon grease.
You can check out this tool:
Or just a simple stiff nylon brush.
When it is new, I recommend scrubbing with hot water, then adding some salt and oil, and scrubbing more with that. Then rinse the salt out with hot water, and dry it over the burner. Once you've got it seasoned to the stage where food doesn't stick as much anymore, no need for the salt anymore.
What I do nowadays is just scrub it with some water and a brush, and dry it well. That's after a few months of light usage.
Baking cornbread really helps with the seasoning.
Also, you can get a nice nonstick layer going by heating the pan up screaming hot (smoking), then adding lard, wiping the lard out completely, let it smoke for half a minute, add more lard, repeat. Do this 5-6 times and you should have a good layer of seasoning on there, that should not need to be cleaned much at all.
But first I would take some steel wool to the factory pre-seasoning and remove as much of it as you can (it is not very good and can fail later down the line).
At the start, you many need to use more oil than you are used to, but the amount will decrease as your pan gets older.
The best brush I've found for scrubbing cast iron pans is:
I have the Ringer XL and have declared it my favorite new toy. It is the bomb for scrubbing cast iron, carbon steel and stainless steel.
Not only does it work exceptionally well, but food bits rinse right out. A few drops of dish soap on it will let you build a nice head of suds in your stainless steel pans. I drape it over the dividing wall on my sink to dry.
I've tossed all my scrubby pads and now use plain sponges and an OXO brush for the occasional heavy crusty stuff on my nonstick pans.
The brush that Sirrith posted from BB&B looks really nice, too. I've never been disappointed by anything with the Oxo name on it.
After cooking I let the pan sit til the next day. I then reheat the pan, get as much of the grease out with paper towels. I then run the pan under very hot water to get rid of the residual grease. Then add kosher salt and use a scrubby thing to really absorb what's left. After rinsing with again with hot water, I put it back on the stove and let it get to light smoke. Turn off the stove and let it sit.
After use, you can scour with salt using a slightly oiled paper towel. Then dump the salt and wipe out the skillet. Kosher salt works well.
Thanks everyone for such fast replies! I think I was just scared that anything abrasive would remove the season...including brushes and salt. I had a feeling cast iron pans would not be as popular as they are if it took hours of re-seasoning each time you cooked with it! I just hope to keep my stuff performing well for years to come and was scared of scrubbing the pans too roughly after cooking with them, since some stuck on bits can always occur.
Fiddle fart! (LoL)
People fuss about CI way too much.
It isn't a baby...it isn't a Ming Vase...you don't have to coddle it.
I have always cleaned my CI with an abrasive sponge...poly or metal.
I keep hearing of people scrubbing with salt and oil...what a waste of salt & oil. Granny never did that...and I'm using HER pans!
My wife recently did something that took the majority of "seasoning" off a 10" pan. She freaked out. I told her don't worry about it...because I wasn't. I have no re-seasoned it or anything else out of the ordinary. We just keep cooking on it as usual...the seasoning will take care of itself.
Never in my life have I worried about CI seasoning (new or old). I'm not about to start worrying about it now that I read topics like this on the internet.
Stop worrying about it and just cook on it. Life will be alot less stressful.